Christine – Original Motion Picture Score
Music by John Carpenter in Association with Alan Howarth
Varese Sarabande – 2017
Because of the success of John Carpenter’s Lost Themes, Lost Themes II, Varese Sarabande is releasing John Carpenter’s classic score for Christine fully remastered and available on blue vinyl.
“Arnie’s Love Theme” that begins the score for Christine is very simple yet contains tremendous mood that’s character based, not only for the Arnie Cunningham character, but the car itself, Christine. John Carpenter in association with Alan Howarth, create an indelible audio presence that sets the tone of the whole film.
The way John Carpenter captures “Obsessed with the Car” is honestly a film scoring marvel. He does so much with so little, it just goes to show you his connection as the main story teller of the movie cannot be overestimated or undervalued.
“Football Run / Kill Your Kids” shows incredible grasp of the film composers with the material on the screen. You can literally feel every emotion as “Dennis” (played by John Stockwell) runs out to catch a pass and gets pummeled, getting injured on the play at the same time Arnie pulls up with Leigh (Alexandra Paul) in now fixed-up magnificent looking red 1958 Plymouth Fury. The juxtaposition – counterbalance between the different emotions, runs so high from the composition. It’s just astounding to listen to and makes you visualize the scene in its entirety 30 plus years since the movie came out.
The tonality and seriousness of “The Rape” cue is very emotionally disturbingly appropriate in terms of the scenes content.
The super high airy keyboard lines in “The Discovery” really create the sensation of heat after the car has been completely vandalized. It’s shocking and John Carpenter captures the vulnerability that Arnie must feel seeing the utter intentional destruction of his beloved car.
“Show Me” as one of always been one of my favorite cuts from the soundtrack. Carpenter connects with Arnie’s words, which are the same as the cue title, asking his girl to regenerate itself and its really the turning point where the movie gets dark. Shortly thereafter Christine and Arnie seek revenge on “the shitters” who tried destroying her. True emotion is captured in this elegantly shadow drenched piece. I’d rate this as one of the top 10 tracks of John Carpenter’s illustrious career.
Carpenter and Howarth put their foot to the floor with “Moochie’s Death. ” Pounding single bass drum rules the track as keyboard lines dance around as the fuel for the car, as it chases down the heavyset character to his death in a tight dead-end alley.
“Junkins” is the music cue that encompasses Arnie Cunningham first seeing dilapidated Christine. The title says it all in terms of how run down and broken she looks. But there’s something about the car that attracts Arnie to her. The high pitch keyboard lines have almost a funeral quality that foretell the unfortunate soul the falls for her.
“Buddy’s Death” begins as the school bully Buddy Repperton (played with great skill by William Ostrander) runs out of the gas station that Christine ram shacks. John Carpenter and Alan Haworth beautifully render the scene transition as the tough guy attempts to flee the still burning Plymouth Fury, which is honestly a vision straight out of hell. But all is for not, as the blazing vehicle chases down this movie’s tormentor and Carpenter/Howarth can literally make you can hear it’s fiery tracks left on the burning corpse.
The dark churning keyboards in “Nobody’s Home / Restored”, set up palpable mood of tension. The little higher pitch notes somehow still represent Arnie Cunningham and his relationship to the old car. I believe this is the scene where the bad guys go to Darnell’s garage before they attempt destroy her.
“Car Obsession Reprise” is such a beautifully understated piece by Carpenter and Howarth. The saying less is infinitely more certainly applies to this composition, as it subtly captures all the dynamic elements working within the film.
“Christine Attacks (Plymouth Fury)” is the pounding musical cue that represents Christine’s deadly fury. Carpenter literally puts his foot down on the bass drum to stomp all over those who get her way.
I believe “Talk on the Couch” is the musical arrangement that accompanies the scene where Dennis (John Stockwell) and Leigh (Alexandra Paul) talk about the situation their friend Arnie is in and how they can stop the rampaging car, and at the same time save their friend.
Obviously from the title, “Regeneration” supports the sequence where Christine repairs herself at the very end of the movie. Carpenter and Howarth utilize reverberating drum, tapping percussion, metal hits and clanging sheet of metal to revitalize the incapacitated car.
John Carpenter’s signature low rumbling keyboard lines speak volumes in “Darnell’s Tonight.” The director/composer really leaves his mark and foretells the film’s thrilling climax to come.
“Arnie” underscores the film’s lead character Arnie Cunningham (played magnificently by actor Keith Gordon). This composition has a white-hot, almost demonic quality. Carpenter and Howarth bring out the tragic element of the doomed character.
“Undented” could be the most threatening piece on the entire score. There is a darkness that prepervades the musical soundscape. It’s an impressive piece of work that absolutely captures the moment within the 1983 film.
“Moochie Mix Four” mixes all the compositional themes and elements together for the last track in the movie. The pounding bass drum, fluttering keyboards and all sorts of ghoulish vehicular aspects are brought together for this underrated masterpiece.
Being a lifelong fan of John Carpenter I know his work as well as anyone on the planet. The thing nobody ever talks about or maybe even realizes is that this is the film he made between The Thing and Starman. Think about that. Carpenter went from making one of the best films ever made in the history of moviemaking (John Carpenter’s The Thing) to going on to make an Academy nominated performance love story with Starman. He was without question at the peak of his directorial career and his work in this movie absolutely shows it. Both on the screen and in this brilliant musical score.
I would rate Christine as one of Top-6 best scores and films of his historic career. The acting in the movie is nothing short of sensational and John Carpenter & Alan Howarth should be forever recognized for what they accomplished with their Original Motion Picture Score.
I would encourage you to go out of your way to go purchase this soundtrack, as it is imperative if you’re any kind of serious collector of movie music and if you’re a horror fan, it’s a no-brainer. A true treasure and kudos go to Varese Sarabande for getting it back out for the world to hear.